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'Bloatware' Becoming a Problem On Android Phones

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the maybe-they're-just-pregnant dept.

Handhelds 415

elrous0 writes "According to a recent article in Wired, consumers of many new Android devices (including Samsung's Vibrant and HTC's EVO) are complaining about the increasing presence of something that has plagued consumer PC's for years: Bloatware (or, to use the more kind euphemism, 'Pre-installed software' that the computer manufacturer gets paid to include on a new PC). Unfortunately the bloatware (aka 'crapware') that comes with these phones has a nasty quality not found on even the most bloated PC: it can't be removed. Many angry consumers have begun to complain openly about this disturbing trend."

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Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (4, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 4 years ago | (#32992594)

NASCAR!!!!! Argh!

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (3, Insightful)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 4 years ago | (#32992612)

Exactly, I am so pissed I can't remove that crap from my EVO.

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (2, Informative)

Slashdot Suxxors (1207082) | about 4 years ago | (#32992636)

Root your Android phone and then you can remove it.

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (2, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about 4 years ago | (#32993118)

That is becoming harder and harder every new model. The N1 (the last easily rootable Android device) is not in production anymore, and newer phones either have signed bootloaders, have hardware tricks to prevent critical filesystems from being remounted R/W, or worse.

I liked my Eris (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32993344)

But since rooting it I love it so much I think I could almost match the toolerosity of apple fanboi.

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (1)

jshabad00 (880813) | about 4 years ago | (#32992692)

But at least the Sprint apps are full-featured and not trial only. That sets them apart from true bloatware.

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (2, Insightful)

Captain Spam (66120) | about 4 years ago | (#32992812)

But at least the Sprint apps are full-featured and not trial only.

For now.

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about 4 years ago | (#32992910)

Sprint TV?

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | about 4 years ago | (#32993120)

You mean like City ID on my Verizon android phone? 14 day trial then 2.99 a month afterwards.

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32993164)

Only if you care about NASCAR.. Since I do not, it is bloatware.

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (2, Interesting)

Matatouille09 (1488443) | about 4 years ago | (#32992736)

The bloatware on the HTC EVO is all Sprint Apps not an android issue

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 4 years ago | (#32993026)

The bloatware on the HTC EVO is all Sprint Apps not an android issue

It's not an issue with the OS, certainly, but the Android platform in particular and the OHA in general was founded with the intention of putting the carriers back in the drivers seat and give them back the control over the phones that they were beginning to lose to RIM, Danger and Apple. Get it? It's OPEN, thus the user can do whatever it wants with it... Of course the end user is a user, unless they're buying a heavily subsidized and locked phone, in which case they're merely a partner with the real user, the carrier.

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (2, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 4 years ago | (#32993092)

Well it is and it isn't.

What we're seeing here is kinda like Mac vs PC, circa 1998. The PC was the open architecture, manufacturers providing a wide choice of different configurations, all running a powerful operating system that was available to anyone who wanted it, with the manufacturers choosing to differentiate themselves by pre-installing their own software. Meanwhile, the Mac was the closed architecture box with the clearly inferior operating system, but with the manufacturer taking great pains to ensure the user's initial experience was as clean as possible.

Fast forward to today: Android is open. As with Windows in 1998, Google is making no attempt to control what's done with it (well, actually Microsoft exerted *more* control in 1998 - I mean, Google is allowing, for example, Motorola and AT&T to remove all of the Google components from the version of Android running on the Flip, and replace them with AT&T-branded Yahoo equivalents. As with the Windows example, Android is the superior, open, system, and any manufacturer can get it, and install it on a variety of different configurations of hardware. Meanwhile, Apple has the inferior operating system, but is exerting heavy control on the system. Users have less choices in terms of hardware, they have even less choices when it comes to what they can do with the system, but, and it's a big but, Apple's control extends, just as with the Mac in 1998, to ensuring that the user's initial experience is as clean as possible.

BTW, unlike Windows, where an application may be spread out in the file system and in terms of entries in the registry, it's relatively simple to remove an Android app if you have root access to the box (ok, that's the tricky bit) - everything's generally in a single file called something like /system/app/ApplicationName.apk.

This is not to say that's how it should be. But it does make it easier to foresee a future where, if Google gets pissed in the same way Microsoft eventually did about pre-installed crapware, Google's fix could be pretty simple.

Re:Can we say, Sprint NASCAR?!? (1)

revlayle (964221) | about 4 years ago | (#32993274)

The Sprint bloatware is pretty crappy. I would almost argue that half of the Sense UI crap is bloatware. I am lucky to have a Hero in such that is easy to root and load a new ROM (the hardware, however, is VERY average), so my Android experience is pretty decent these days :)

Tit for tat (-1, Troll)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 4 years ago | (#32992630)

iPhone has fart machines. Android counters with bigger and better and beefier fart machines. That's progress for you.

Re:Tit for tat (3, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 4 years ago | (#32992742)

Apple doesn't install said Fart apps. rather the end users choose to. Not so with bloatware...

Re:Tit for tat (2, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 4 years ago | (#32992900)

Bloatware is when the user bought a fart app, which also queefs.

Re:Tit for tat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32992978)

The whole MacS is a part app!

Buy better (4, Insightful)

tom229 (1640685) | about 4 years ago | (#32992640)

Guess that'll teach ya to buy GSM only and direct from the manufacturer.

Not everyone can get T-Mobile (1, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#32992730)

Guess that'll teach ya to buy GSM only and direct from the manufacturer.

Too bad for people who live or work in a part of the United States where T-Mobile doesn't have a reliable signal. Verizon and Sprint are CDMA2000, and unlike T-Mobile's "Even More Plus", AT&T doesn't appear to offer a discount on the plan for bringing your own phone.

Re:Buy better (4, Informative)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 4 years ago | (#32992772)

> Guess that'll teach ya to buy GSM only and direct from the manufacturer.

And have no 3G data service in a shockingly large part of America that isn't even particularly rural (the parts where you might have 3G service if you were to go stand on the roof of your house and orient the phone *exactly* the right way, but can forget about indoor service -- even next to a window. It's a particularly feast-or-famine problem with T-mobile. Due to their spectrum issues, there are quite a few places where the next step down from HSDPA/HSPA+ is GPRS (no EDGE).

For the most part, if you have Sprint or Verizon, you're going to get at least ISDN-speed 1xRTT data just about anywhere in the country that's within a mile of the nearest paved road, and have decently reliable 3G EVDO service just about everywhere you're likely to care about unless you're a park ranger.

Re:Buy better (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 4 years ago | (#32992950)

Similarly, AT&T has 3G coverage in a lot of areas where T-Mobile phones won't even work at all. (Their cross-roaming agreement seems to not be particularly effective.)

Also, in nearly all areas, when not in an AT&T 3G area, you drop to EDGE and not bare GPRS.

As to bloatware - this isn't a new problem. Windows Mobile does it too. RIM seems to be able to keep stricter control over the Blackberry, probably partly because they develop both the hardware and the OS and due to their tendency to be more "business oriented".

Re:Buy better (2, Insightful)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 4 years ago | (#32993446)

Except that it is very easy to get rid of bloatware in Windows Mobile - a hard reset, and when it says something along the lines of "starting to install software in three seconds" do a soft reset.
After the phone boots you've got a clean and pristine Windows Mobile.

Re:Buy better (1)

spleen_blender (949762) | about 4 years ago | (#32993228)

I've had a G1 with T-Mobile for a year now in Houston, Tx. I've not once had a real issue with 3G. Hell, on a drive from Houston to Dallas or Austin I can tether the thing to my laptop and stream Grooveshark with barely missing a beat, and that is a bit of a rural area between here and there.

Re:Buy better (1)

mangaskahn (932048) | about 4 years ago | (#32993316)

Or unless you live in WV. I have grandparents there and can't get service at all any farther than a few miles outside of Huntington.

Shovelware (4, Informative)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#32992644)

I always thought pre-installed crap was called "shovelware." As in, it's shoveled on there not for functionality's sake, but so some programmer can get a bonus.

Re:Synonyms (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#32992790)

Shovelware, Bloatware, Crapware, pre-installed software, Windows Vista,

they're all interchangable really.

Re:Synonyms (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | about 4 years ago | (#32992904)

Providers are installing Windows Vista on Android phones? The performance must be horrible.

Re:Synonyms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32993376)

Ya, but it has nothing to do with the hardware.

Re:Synonyms (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32993406)

Bloatware used to refer to software that at one time actually was useful. Then they start adding more and more features that also makes the software slower, more buggy, less reliable, etc. Basically it was another way of saying that it's software affected by feeping creaturism [wikipedia.org] .

Vista is bloatware.

The shovelware, crapware, spyware, malware, etc. are what can come with it when you buy it as part of an OEM package.

Re:Synonyms (1)

ooshna (1654125) | about 4 years ago | (#32993498)

Eww Vista its like Windows Millennium's bastard child.

Re:Shovelware (2, Informative)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about 4 years ago | (#32992954)

I always thought pre-installed crap was called "shovelware." As in, it's shoveled on there not for functionality's sake, but so some programmer can get a bonus.

Shovelware can also include bad software in general. They shovel it out the door, so to speak.

Re:Shovelware (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | about 4 years ago | (#32993078)

You're right, and the terminology difference matters to some people (like me). Bloatware would be the shopping list app I saw that was over 6MB on the Android Market. 6MB for a shopping list app huh? Try 600KB and I might bite.

Re:Shovelware (4, Interesting)

gorzek (647352) | about 4 years ago | (#32993218)

I'd call it "bundleware," which is relatively precise without being a loaded term.

I always thought of "shovelware" as being what you get when you buy a 10-pack of games, and only two or three of them are good--the rest are garbage, just shovelware to fill out the package.

Re:Shovelware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32993322)

s/programmer/manager/

Re:Shovelware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32993398)

I always thought pre-installed crap was called "shovelware." As in, it's shoveled on there not for functionality's sake, but so some programmer can get a bonus.

Mangers get bonuses, programmers just get another paycheck.

(yeah, I'm a programmer)

Re:Shovelware (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 4 years ago | (#32993432)

Programmer? Not even, it doesn't take a programmer to install software. It's the PHB types that ask for software to be installed, they get money from Norton, etc. for installing trial and demo software, with an expectation that enough users will buy it to pay for the preload.

I'm Confused... (5, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 4 years ago | (#32992646)

I thought android was the "Open" one...

Re:I'm Confused... (5, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#32992716)

Of course it's "open," you just have to jailbreak it first!

Re:I'm Confused... (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 years ago | (#32993236)

Funniest thing is that people have said that to me, and they weren't joking. Part of the reason I got an HTC Incredible is that everyone kept talking about how open Android phones are. Then I was like, "Ok, now how do I get WiFi tethering on this bad-boy?"

The response was, "Oh, it's easy. You just have to root it."

"So you're saying I have to hack it. Same way I can do whatever I want with my iPhone, but I have to hack it first."

"No, no. It's totally different. Android is open."

"But you have to hack it in order to be able to do what you want?"

"Yes."

*sigh* "Ok, so how do I root an Incredible?"

"Oh, you can't. Someone will probably figure it out sooner or later, but for now you're just stuck with what you have."

"But I could jailbreak an iPhone now and do whatever I want with it. People already figured it out."

"Yeah, I guess."

"How is this more open again?"

"Because with Android, you can do whatever you want! It's Linux, after all."

Re:I'm Confused... (5, Interesting)

Zorkon (121860) | about 4 years ago | (#32993354)

If I could mod this up 10000x, I would.

I love me some open Linux-y goodness, but Android isn't open. Not in the same way the Ubuntu or a desktop OS is. That's not Google's fault, it's the fault of the phone manufacturers. But the end result is the same - if you want full control over your "open" Android phone, you have to circumvent the restrictions the manufacturer has placed on it - *just* like you have to with an iPhone.

So, given that little tidbit, I'd rather get an iPhone. At least Apple has an idea of how to design quality user interfaces. Android suffers from Linux-UI-itis.

(disclaimer: I own both a Nexus One and an iPhone 3GS ... and develop software for both of them. I bought the Nexus One because it was more "open" ... and then discovered that it really wasn't)

Re:I'm Confused... (1, Insightful)

ballwall (629887) | about 4 years ago | (#32993544)

While I agree for the most part, the critical exception is that [most] of the android phones don't have to use the single all-powerful app store, you can still install apps from anywhere. (There are exceptions to even this, though)

Re:I'm Confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32993520)

You will never get modded up as you deserve. I think this has been the clearest description of the hypocritical thinking Android fans (notice didn't say fanbois...awful term) have vs. iPhone.

The only thing I can possibly see in the current market that Android has over the iPhone is you can install any app you want..now, I'm not so sure based on all the locking down carriers are doing.

Re:I'm Confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32993540)

Then I was like, "Ok, now how do I get WiFi tethering on this bad-boy?"

The response was, "Oh, it's easy. You just have to root it."

"So you're saying I have to hack it. Same way I can do whatever I want with my iPhone, but I have to hack it first."

Actually, Easytether and PDANet are free apps for all android phones that allow tethering without rooting.

Score one for openness ;)

Re:I'm Confused... (2, Funny)

cacba (1831766) | about 4 years ago | (#32992832)

Im giving away free chocolate bars!

Did I mention they are at the bottom of the ocean?

Re:I'm Confused... (5, Informative)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 4 years ago | (#32992964)

This is something a lot of people get confused. ("If it's open, why do you have to root it?")

What it is, is the AOSP [android.com] (Android Open Source Project) is completely open. The source code to the Android tree is right here [kernel.org] . You can do whatever you want with your own build of Android, nobody is stopping you. When it comes to phones, this is where the "openness" ends, other than the manufacturers having to contribute changes back to the source (which they do). However, the build of Android you buy on your phone certainly does not have to be open. The telcos usually want the bootloaders locked so you can't run an "unapproved" build of Android, and the provided builds of Android may include this crap, or even go as far as AT&T does and disable loading applications from anywhere but the Marketplace.

If you want to avoid the sort of problem like this shovelware/bloatware, make sure to get a phone running stock Android, like the Droid or the Nexus One (for example) that hasn't had the OS itself modified by the manufacturer (like with HTC Sense or Motoblur) or by the carrier (like with the EVO).

Re:I'm Confused... (5, Funny)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 4 years ago | (#32993222)

It's open, just not to you. But doesn't feel so much better to be fucked over by a corporation that uses Open Source software ?

Good point: Buy an open phone (1)

Kludge (13653) | about 4 years ago | (#32993392)

Another reason I am happy I bought an N900. I can uninstall anything, including OOPS! programs that make my phone work.

Seriously however, to uninstall the important stuff you have to drop to a shell and know what you're doing. Or half know what you are doing...

Re:I'm Confused... (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 4 years ago | (#32993444)

It is. You can download and compile the source as much as you want. It's all right there. Google has made it 100% open.

Of course, if you want a truly open phone, that you can have root access to and that you can unlock the bootloader on (i.e. to flash your own ROMs) you'll either need to use a procedure that's not authorized by the manufacturer, or you'll need to get a Google Developer Phone (i.e. Nexus One). Or find a manufacturer that supports truly open hardware (good luck with that).

Unless you use something like the GPL-v3, forcing manufacturers to be open isn't possibly. And if you tried the GPL-v3 approach, not a single manufacturer would have adopted Android. It's completely incompatible with their business model of carrier-subsidized handsets and carrier-lock-in.

Unfortunately, nobody in the market other than a few hundred thousand geeks really wanted the openness of the Nexus One, as a result it's been removed from public sales in the US effective yesterday, and will only be offered for sale to registered Android developers in the future (it's still on the market through retail outlets and phone company partnerships in Europe, Korea and possibly other places though).

People voted with their dollars - they *like* the crapware because it subsidizes their el-cheapo subsidized handsets. If they were willing to pay the actual cost of the hardware, they wouldn't have to see bloatware/crapware flooding the damn phones and wouldn't be beholden to the shitty carriers. But no, they are a bunch of whiny bitches who won't pay and they killed the market for open hardware.

Luckily, registering as an Android developer just means paying an extra $25 bucks, which shouldn't stop most of the Slashdot geek crowd. And rooting and bootloader-unlocking most of the Samsung, Motorola and HTC Android phones is pretty easy for anybody who's tech-saavy enough to be flashing their own ROMs in the first place.

RageMore (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32992662)

The bloatware is Sprint's doing on the HTC EVO... has nothing to do with Android.

Re:RageMore (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | about 4 years ago | (#32993166)

The bloatware is Sprint's doing on the HTC EVO... has nothing to do with Android.

This is a really good point. When you're buying a phone from a Wireless provider, you're buying the phone "as is" with whatever features (software) the provider adds to it, whether they add value or not. The reasons you can't uninstall them may include:

1. Features may be required to enure the carrier can deliver all the services they promised (e.g. Sprint's free GPS app)
2. Features to fulfill contractual obligations (e.g. "you agree to provide a copy of Amazon music store on each device you sell.")
3. Features that support internal promotional interests (e.g. the infamous Sprint NASCAR app)

If you know about these things before you buy the phone, and know you will not be able to remove them, then it's not a problem. This so-called "bloatware" is only a problem for people who don't understand that these things are, essentially, part of the phone. It's part of what you paid for when you bought the phone from Sprint (or AT&T, or Verizon, etc.)

Re:RageMore (1)

frnic (98517) | about 4 years ago | (#32993460)

And how is it this is so much better than iPhone?

Bloatware != crapware (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#32992664)

Crapware is stuff that is installed by the device manufacturer, usually in exchange for money (although in Android's case possibly so Google can get advertising money later), which is not required by the user and consumes resources. Bloatware is software that does something useful, but does so in a very inefficient way, typically including a large number of superfluous features. They are not the same thing.

Re:Bloatware != crapware (0)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#32992776)

Under your definition, the entire distribution loaded on the handset is "bloatware" because it does something useful (it makes calls) but includes superfluous features (the "crapware").

Re:Bloatware != crapware (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#32992816)

What if the software is something that does something useful, but you don't use it, in a very inefficient way (Like some of the HP Printer Features that start on startup, regardless if you have a printer set up or not).

Chime in, economists (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32992674)

Economists:

Is this an issue that the free market should settle (i.e. If you don't want bloatware, research your phone and reward another company with your funds)?
Is this an issue that regulation should settle (something about property rights? selling what some would call a defective product? fraud?)

Discuss.

Re:Chime in, economists (1)

Haffner (1349071) | about 4 years ago | (#32993518)

I'll bite.

Uneducated Peons:

I favor regulation, because as the percentage of sheep in the American public rises, marketing budgets, and therefore, corporations, control an increasing percentage of mindshare. This in turn lets them tell you that filling 3GB of your 4GB phone with software that can't be uninstalled is saving you time finding and researching programs (they already offer you the best ones). Also, they offer the best value for your money, because all those free apps that do the same thing in 1/10th the resources just aren't as good. Also, you have to download new features periodically, which takes time. Isn't it nicer to never have to deal with updates (for the low fee of $4 per app per month)?

Love,

Optimistic Economist

So root it. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#32992682)

Root the phone and remove that garbage.

Re:So root it. (1)

byersjus (987526) | about 4 years ago | (#32992868)

Seriously, grow a pair and follow some simple instructions to root. It's not hard at all. Some phones have a PC app to do it for you (EVO included): http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=706411 [xda-developers.com]

The Great Thing About Android (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 4 years ago | (#32992696)

Is that phone makers can do anything they want with it.

The horrible thing about Android is that phone makers can do anything they want with it.

“It’s different from phone to phone and operator to operator,” says Keith Nowak, spokesman for HTC. “But in general, the apps are put there to meet the operator’s business and revenue needs.”

Nowak must be new to PR. He was supposed to spin it as "free apps, everybody wins!" But instead he handed out a healthy dosage of the truth. Enjoy it, it rarely happens.

Re:The Great Thing About Android (2, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | about 4 years ago | (#32993138)

I dream of the future when "phone service" will be provided by assigning phone address to MAC of whatever device you are using (like Skype).

May be in the future there will be only data plan and only VOIP on top of it.

Re:The Great Thing About Android (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#32993146)

Nowak must be new to PR. He was supposed to spin it as "free apps, everybody wins!" But instead he handed out a healthy dosage of the truth. Enjoy it, it rarely happens.

He didn't want his company to look like the asshole when phones with his logo are full of shite. For all their faults HTC usually includes little more nonsense than a slightly goofy, somewhat inefficient but typically pretty interface and some matching apps (to run the camera and such) to go with it. You can usually disable their interface pretty easily.

Re:The Great Thing About Android (2, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | about 4 years ago | (#32993290)

I'd love to hear his explanation of why Apple doesn't resort to such measures but somehow makes billions of dollars a year. I realize that catching up to the market leader is tough, but shouldn't that encourage companies to give their customers a BETTER product/price, not worse?

Re:The Great Thing About Android (1)

bkgood (986474) | about 4 years ago | (#32993378)

“It’s different from phone to phone and operator to operator,” says Keith Nowak, spokesman for HTC. “But in general, the apps are put there to meet the operator’s business and revenue needs.”

So in essence, carriers are doing with Android phones what they've been doing with other phones for ages, installing stuff that makes them money with minimal added utility for the user. Color me surprised.

Consequently, the solutions are what they've always been: modify the phone in some non-supported way, or buy a non-carrier-branded, non-contract phone for loads more than what you'd pay otherwise. And like most of everything else on /., this becomes non-news.

Re:The Great Thing About Android (1)

jwinster (1620555) | about 4 years ago | (#32993414)

Incidentally this is exactly the reason that Android was able to take off. Cell phone manufacturers and wireless companies wanted to be able to put their own applications on your smartphone (similar to the way they behave with their feature phones), and they wanted something cheaper than paying for windows mobile licenses. Android filled both those requirements by being free, and they can install their own crapware to try and get you to continue to add to your monthly bill by paying for their services. Remember, cell phone companies are constantly trying to stay important by being content providers, rather than just being dumb data carriers like what happened to the phone companies.

Standard phone bloatware (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 4 years ago | (#32992710)

Every phone I've ever had (except my G1) has had bloatware on it, if it could run custom apps. My razor had some demo games. My Sony had some demo games. And no, you couldn't delete them.

The G1 is an exception only because Android was so new at the time is my assumption.

The news here isn't that Android phones have bloatware... It's that they were previously unlike the other phones in this respect, and now they aren't. Not a real Big surprise. It's not like it even takes up phone memory... They're in the firmware, like all the other built-in apps.

bloatware CAN be removed (1, Informative)

zill (1690130) | about 4 years ago | (#32992712)

Unfortunately the bloatware (aka 'crapware') that comes with these phones has a nasty quality not found on even the most bloated PC: it can't be removed.

Not true. On a rooted phone it's as simple as "adb uninstall".

Of course some users are not technically inclined enough to root their phones, but as it stands the statement is blatantly false.

Re:bloatware CAN be removed (5, Funny)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about 4 years ago | (#32993358)

I remember the good old days when Android fans made fun of the iPhone because some people did a jailbreak to install software, now those same people have to jailbreak their phones to be able to uninstall some software. Oh the irony.

Nothing new (1)

sarysa (1089739) | about 4 years ago | (#32992734)

Even though Android is a smartphone platform, it will ultimately be the carriers' and manufacturers' successor to the J2ME and BREW platforms. Android is merely inheriting practices that have evolved over the last 8 years or so. My Palm Pre also has unremovable bloatware. (unless you root the device) It's not going to go away anytime soon.

2005 Dell... same sh*t 5 years later. (4, Interesting)

AmazinglySmooth (1668735) | about 4 years ago | (#32992754)

I had to reimage my father's PC, a 2005 Dell, using the built-in system restore feature. Now he has AOL and Norton that is seriously out of date!!! This stuff never dies. It took another 30 minutes for me to remove all the crap and put on newer versions of other crap.

Re:2005 Dell... same sh*t 5 years later. (1)

JasonMaggini (190142) | about 4 years ago | (#32993288)

They need this kind of program [pcdecrapifier.com] for phones.

You are not alone (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32993450)

It sounds like you need to sit down with your father and have "the talk." Fortunately, now days you are not alone, and there are plenty of useful web sites to help you through this difficult discussion. One such site can be found here [ubuntu.com] . While it may be a little uncomfortable and possibly a bit embarrassing at first, you will find that he may keep an open mind and be willing to share some of his fears and views on this sensitive but important topic.

Not a major problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32992768)

How is this a problem? most non-technical people I know don't really care about the preinstalled crap on their phones, and just live with it. Anyone with a bit of technical know-how will probably root the phone, or flash a new rom onto it anyway

Re:Not a major problem (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 4 years ago | (#32992856)

Well the Droid X is pretty much unflashable with non Moto roms. There are other phones that still haven't been rooted. Relying on back doors to solve problems with front doors only works as long as the back door exists.

Re:Not a major problem (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 4 years ago | (#32993022)

Here is a better idea, don't buy phones like the droid X.

Custom ROMs (3, Interesting)

nukem996 (624036) | about 4 years ago | (#32992786)

Even custom ROMs suffer from this a bit. Whatever the author of the ROM thinks is a good application your stuck with. The only way I've been able to get a slim down ROM from my Droid is by downloading a ROM and customizing it myself.

Re:Custom ROMs (1)

jonnythan (79727) | about 4 years ago | (#32993054)

Or you can just delete the apps you don't want. A heck of a lot easier than cooking your own ROM.

Re:Custom ROMs (1)

Reilaos (1544173) | about 4 years ago | (#32993150)

This is true, but it can easily become a bother, since upgrading the ROM will typically bring back the stuff you uninstalled the last time around.

Re:Custom ROMs (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 4 years ago | (#32993296)

If you are not careful and try that on a rooted Motorola CLIQ, you will end up with a lovely bootloop until you restore from a nandroid backup or reflash.

Re:Custom ROMs (1)

nukem996 (624036) | about 4 years ago | (#32993314)

Well thats what I do. I take a custom ROM and delete the things I don't want.

Cook your own ROM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32992792)

I have a Windows Mobile phone from Sprint which has the way cool NASCAR program... The nice thing is that I can cook my own roms. I have been cooking my own roms for the past four years and it is nice to be able to remove the Crap Ware and replace it with useful applications.

Andriod is open right? Why not do the same thing... Just cook and burn your own rom without the crap... If you don't want to cook your own rom there are usually about 5 guys in any phone group who cook roms and share them with the general public. Certainly, it is possible to find a rom you like.

I figure, if the garbage exists in the phone to start with then the phone was probably cheaper than it otherwise would have been... Then I get rid of the garbage... Best of both worlds...

 

Re:Cook your own ROM (1)

cynyr (703126) | about 4 years ago | (#32993276)

some android based phones(droidX) will only load signed roms. So you need to root the rom and use adb to delete apps.

AKA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32992820)

AKA crapware
AKA awfulware
AKA poopieware
AKA turdware
AKA not-very-nice-at-all-ware

Iphone? (-1, Flamebait)

Gilesx (525831) | about 4 years ago | (#32992862)

Apparently, the worst bloatware can be found on the iphone 4. I believe it's called 'ios' or something...

Sent from my nexus one

Wired == Apple Fanboys (0, Offtopic)

concord (198387) | about 4 years ago | (#32992872)

I'm not surprised this is a 'WIRED' article. They are such Apple fanboys. I've come so close to canceling my subscription because they go on and on ad nauseum about Apple, Inc.

Bloatware, Crapware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32992874)

Why I am not a fan of the Evo, has too much crap on it. Not a bad phone but so much crap that it is annoying. In most cases I would rather have antennagate than crapware. With antennagate I can put on a cover, with the evo crapware it is stuck there unless you jailbreak it which is more of a pain than what it is worth.

Speaking as a fan... (1)

Trufagus (1803250) | about 4 years ago | (#32992908)

I think Android is great but this really sucks.

In theory 'Preloaded' applications on an Android phone would not be that bad. Uninstalling apps on Android is simple and doesn't leave much of a trace - compared to preloaded apps on Windows this is much easier to deal with.

But 'preloaded' apps that you can't uninstall is a deal breaker.

What we need is a premium brand for Android phones. A brand where we pay a bit more to get something without the preloaded apps, with no shortcuts taken on the hardware, and with fast updates to
  new versions of Android.

I was hoping that the Nexus line were going to be that, but I guess that is not to be.

Re:Speaking as a fan... (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about 4 years ago | (#32993148)

Ummm, no. I will NOT pay more for the privilege of having less bloatware. That's just stupid. Here's what should happen - you pay for a basic android based phone with only the stock apps/functionality that comes with the base OS. Then the vendors make apps that are actually useful and wanted by people. Then I pay extra if I want the useful app that I didn't get with the basic environment. Paying extra (aka bribing) to keep stuff you don't want off your phone is just nuts.

verizion (1)

ron-l-j (1725874) | about 4 years ago | (#32992912)

I had emailed verizion cust support about the apps they preinstall. They said they could not help me with removing them. Rooting is an option I am looking in to. -- I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell - Harry S Truma

Re:verizion (1)

tomhudson (43916) | about 4 years ago | (#32993072)

Take them to small claims court - your phone is defective because of the unwanted bloatware on it. Either they acknowledge that YOU are the owner of the phone, and provide a way to remove the crap, or they refund the portion of your money covering the "purchase" of your phone.

not the same as windows bloatware (1)

ani23 (899493) | about 4 years ago | (#32992914)

this stuff installed assume just sits there till someone uses it. unless its used i dont see how it slows the phone down. with bloatware on windows most of the shiat is running in background processes like av, scanners, free firewalls etc etc. not exactly the same and not as bad either.

Re:not the same as windows bloatware (4, Informative)

SLot (82781) | about 4 years ago | (#32993448)

no, it doesn't.

On my EVO, I have never used FM Radio or Music, yet both are running in the background after booting.

Clearly, not using them doesn't mean they don't run and consume resources.

Re:not the same as windows bloatware (1)

ani23 (899493) | about 4 years ago | (#32993526)

my bad. yeah that kinda blows.

This is why I was for the Nexus One (1)

naasking (94116) | about 4 years ago | (#32993004)

Google's open approach here would have been ideal, if only they had marketed the Nexus One better. I would totally have bought a Nexus Two, but now they're out of the game. Too bad. I hope HTC tries a direct to consumer model at some point too.

We're all going to suffer awhile longer before this crapware problem gets resolved.

Re:This is why I was for the Nexus One (1)

Second_Derivative (257815) | about 4 years ago | (#32993428)

Nexus One has precisely this problem, which is why I didn't buy it. It comes with a Facebook app and an Amazon MP3 Store app, neither of which are removable without rooting the phone. Yes there's an officially sanctioned mechanism for rooting and reflashing the devide, but I shouldn't have to void the warranty to remove unwanted functionality.

Fuck you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32993020)

I am going to lose a lot of karma, but... the hell.

You have buy a locked down device in a wallet garden, you deserver the worst to you.
You have not done enough to fight these things. ...humm... I have changed opinion. Posting this anonymous :-)

Bloatware / tracking / rooting prevention... (3, Insightful)

the ReviveR (1106541) | about 4 years ago | (#32993044)

It is exactly for reasons like this we should support truly open platforms for mobiles instead of "open" like android. I am really happy with my N900 and I hope MeeGo will be a huge success.

This applies to most phones (2, Interesting)

C_Kode (102755) | about 4 years ago | (#32993160)

This applies to most phones sold by carriers. Prior to purchasing my Nexus One I had a Blackberry (and the one before it) Both had lots of T-Mobile crap on them that I never used. The good thing about Blackberry though is it allowed me to "hide" any apps I didn't want to see.

I suppose in Android I just wouldn't put them on any of my multiple desktops and just leave them in the main app list. (if thats possible on those phones)

Security problems (2, Interesting)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | about 4 years ago | (#32993328)

My problem with this is security. Every single one of those pre-installed applications have bugs in them that could be exploited by malware. For me, that's what makes it so irritating. An app, that I don't want, is taking up space, and makes my data less secure.

It's sad how the open platform gets saddled with crap you can't remove and the closed platform (iPhone) is kept clean by a CEO who gives a shit about aesthetics and user experience.

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